Racist chants overshadow England's defeat

Spain Under-21 1 - England Under-21 0
Click to follow
The Independent Football

England's acting captain, Glen Johnson, was sent off for the second time as an England Under-21 player here last night as Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas ended Peter Taylor's unbeaten record in last night's friendly international.

England slipped to a 1-0 defeat in Spain last night, with Glen Johnson's 70th-minute dismissal sealing the end of Peter Taylor's unbeaten run as England Under-21 coach. But events away from the playing surface overshadowed the match as the strikers Carlton Cole and Darren Bent had to put up with racist abuse during the first half from fans behind one of the goals during the friendly match near Madrid. Johnson got the same treatment during the second period.

The Football Association has already promised to send a letter of complaint to the sport's European governing body, Uefa, over the incident.

Taylor said: "I thought I heard something in the first half ­ it was a bit disappointing. It happened when Carlton was running through towards the Spanish goal ­ but I'll let the FA deal with it."

Cesc Fabregas got the decisive goal for Spain just past the hour, when a free-kick from the left flank found the Arsenal player unmarked and he side-footed in with his left foot at the far post.

England, without several of their regular line-up, were second best for long periods, with Fabregas showing some delightful touches when he came on as a half-time substitute.

The visitors' task was made even more difficult, when Johnson picked up a needless second yellow card for dissent following a challenge on Nicky Hunt.

The Middlesbrough winger Stewart Downing, widely tipped to force his way into the senior squad, was restricted to the final half-hour after playing 90 minutes against West Bromwich just 48 hours earlier. But he still produced England's best two efforts in the final stages.

Spain under-21: Riesgo; Ramos Sergio, Pena, Jarque, Carlos Garcia, Zapater, Prieto, Gabi, Garcia Sergio, Iniesta, Santi Cazorla. Substitutes: Ruben Martinez, Vitolo, Fabregas, Hector Font, Arizmendi, Navas, Melli, Ramis.

England under-21: Carson (Leeds); Johnson (Chelsea), Hunt (Bolton), Dawson (Nottm Forest), Harding (Brighton), Ambrose (Newcastle), Hoyte (Arsenal), Whittingham (Aston Villa), Milner (Newcastle), Bent (Ipswich), Cole (Chelsea). Substitutes: Watson (Crystal Palace), for Harding, h-t; Camp (Derby), for Carson, h-t; Downing (Middlesbrough) for Ambrose, 58, Routledge (Crystal Palace) for Milner, 58, Ridgewell (Aston Villa), Davenport (West Ham), Turnbull (Middlesbrough).

Referee: F Wack (Germany).